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Join our Board

Our Team


Rebecca Deegan

Founder / Director & general policy geek

I've worked in policy and public affairs for almost a decade, working on campaigns at the local, national and global-level across major policy challenges such as climate change and our ageing population. I set-up ‘I have a voice’ (IHAV) after reflecting on my own experience of leaving further education knowing nothing about politics and feeling unequipped to confidently articulate my views, especially if they were challenged.

I stumbled across a profession that showed me there are lots of parliamentary mechanisms that enable citizens to push for change. In a time where political discourse can be divisive, I want to show young people how they can use existing democratic processes to raise their voices in a way that promotes open-mindedness and compassion, and leads to effective action.

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Charlotte Burchill

Regional Lead & aspiring policymaker

I am studying History and International Relations at Lancaster University.

Since joining IHAV, I have been able to campaign about issues that really matter to me. As someone that suffers from a chronic illness, I was keen to improve awareness of disability rights. As a result, I have met with the Minister for Disabled People to discuss improving opportunities for young disabled people seeking employment.

I have gained political awareness that I am keen to share with other politically active young people across the UK.


I am also captain of my University netball team which has allowed me to develop my leadership skills and show my competitive side!


Elisha Holt

Community development and engagement officer & believer in political accessibility

I am a proud northerner with experience working in communities to engage and remove barriers that are preventing people from taking part in social and cultural experiences.

Having grown up and worked in communities across Hull, I’ve seen first-hand some of the effects of political apathy and low engagement with political systems and I’m keen to change that. My experiences have given me an understanding of the barriers people face when trying to engage politically and what can be done to eliminate them.

Working with IHAV I want to make politics accessible to everyone, improve political literacy and engagement by working with young people to help them understand and feel empowered to engage with the issues that matter to them!

In my spare time I enjoy reading, playing with my dog and watching the West Wing!


Usman Ali

Board member & passionate about challenging ethnic disparities

I am a proud British Pakistani with a wealth of experience in the Higher Education Sector (King's College London & Goldsmiths, University of London), and expert knowledge of not just how British politics operates but also that of Pakistani, Indian & American political systems.

My background has enabled me to understand the world through a variety of different perspectives, and this helps me to see how barriers to social, political & economic changes can be overcome.

I joined IHAV to support its growth because it is important that everyone's voices are heard by decision-makers.

In my spare time, I am a keen reader, writer, campaigner, walker and karak chai enthusiast

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Ben Maher

Safeguarding & positive wellbeing champion

At IHAV, my role allows me to be inspired by the incredible contributions of young people every day. Our national campaigns would not be possible without our youth ambassadors’ dedication and passion for social justice.

Joining I have a voice was the perfect opportunity for me to expand my skills, all whilst meeting a community of young people equally passionate about equality, diversity and inclusion. And of course, positive mental health. I am also an Apprentice Social Worker.


Fatima Yusuf

Regional Lead & politics enthusiast

I initially joined IHAV when I was in year 11. I am now in my first year at Cambridge. I campaign with News to Reuse and Justice 4 you. I’ve always been fascinated by political institutions and understanding how best to address disparities, whether that be related to people or planet.

My passion for improving political literacy in under-represented groups led me to join the I have a voice team. My main responsibilities are delivering political education to other young people and contributing to our social media. I also help with stakeholder mapping.

When I’m not working or studying, I love to read and I also really enjoy creating content - I’ve recently started a YouTube channel giving both academic and general life advice!


Kerrie Portman

Social Media Content Developer & campaigning nerd

I am studying at the University of Cambridge as part of the pioneering cohort of their new Foundation Year, aimed to help with educational equality.


I am a passionate campaigner about the Care System, Care Leaver homelessness and queer rights and in 2022, was a winner of 30 To Watch Politics.


A politically literate society leads to a healthy democracy, but unfortunately, politics is often gatekept. This is why I Have A Voice is so important.

When I'm not studying or working, I am a competitive cheerleader!

We're also supported by a fantastic Board:

Co-chairs: Peter Abbott (COO, AiStream) and Cassie Howe (Healthcare Consultant, Royal Free Hospital)

Members: Amelia Christie (Head of International Policy & Advocacy, UNICEF UK),  Usman Ali (Campaigns Advisor, Recruitment & Employment Confederation), Angela Dickinson (Policy, The Bar Standards Board), Ben Stetson (Associate Director, Weber Shandwick), Rachael Clamp (Founder, Ardesey Ltd and President-elect of the CIPR), Eric Hempel (CFO, Tribe Technology Group).

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